CHISINAU -- The Moldovan government has approved recalling the ambassador to Russia amid a scandal over an alleged attempt to smuggle anabolic steroids to Moscow.
Announcing the decision on December 9, Prime Minister Ion Chicu said Ambassador Andrei Neguta bore responsibility for the "shameful" smuggling attempt.
Moldovan authorities say a minibus carrying anabolic steroids was stopped on December 5 by customs officers and agents of the Security and Intelligence Service at the Palanca crossing on the border with Ukraine.
The vehicle, which carried diplomatic plates, belonged to the Moldovan Embassy in Moscow.
The illicit shipment was said to be worth more than $480,000.
This is the second time Neguta has been recalled as Moldova's envoy to Moscow.
The first time was in 2012, after he made remarks in support of keeping Russian troops in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniester.
Neguta was reappointed to the post in 2017.